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Mes que un sponsor? Barcelona cash in with new €55m-a-year shirt deal

Japanese firm Rakuten strike deal just short of world record.

Messi: Barcelona's jerseys will have Rakuten's logo from the start of the 2017 season.
Messi: Barcelona's jerseys will have Rakuten's logo from the start of the 2017 season.
Image: Francisco Seco

BARCELONA HAVE ANNOUNCED a deal which will see Japanese company Rakuten become the club’s main global partner and shirt sponsors from the 2017-18 season.

The agreement, which also sees Rakuten named global innovation and entertainment partners, will ensure the brand’s name appears on Barca’s matchday jerseys for four years, with the option of a fifth.

Rakuten will replace Qatar Airways as shirt sponsors, with the new deal worth €55million per season. That means the deal is worth just less than Manchester United’s £53m-per-year world-record agreement with Chevrolet.

Famed for their long-held decision to refuse corporate shirt sponsors, Barcelona signed a five-year deal worth €150 million with the Qatar Foundation ahead of the 2011 season, with the charity’s logo replaced by the commercial Qatar Airways brand after two years.

The agreement with Rakuten – who already have involvement in football through their ownership of J-League outfit Vissel Kobe – will be ratified at an extraordinary meeting of club members “in the coming weeks”.

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